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'Next-Generation Technology': UK Plans to Test Laser Weapons on Board a Warship for First Time

© AFP 2021 / OLI SCARFFThe Royal Navy Type 23 frigate HMS Somerset is moored in the harbour during the national Armed Forces Day celebrations at Llandudno, north Wales on June 30, 2018
The Royal Navy Type 23 frigate HMS Somerset is moored in the harbour during the national Armed Forces Day celebrations at Llandudno, north Wales on June 30, 2018 - Sputnik International, 1920, 15.09.2021
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In July 2019, the UK Defence Ministry launched a novel weapons programme, saying that laser technology has "the potential to revolutionise the battlefield".
Advanced laser weapons will be tested by the UK Army and Royal Navy for the first time in 2023, with battlefield lasers' full capabilities expected in service within a decade, Minister for Defence Procurement Jeremy Quin has said.

Speaking at the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) exhibition in London on Tuesday, he stressed that "Directed Energy Weapons [laser and radio frequency weapons] are a key element of our future equipment programmes and we intend to become a world leader in the research, manufacture, and implementation of this next-generation technology".

Directed Energy Weapons are powered by electricity and have no need for ammunition.
According to Quin, trials of laser and radio frequency weapons are scheduled for 2023, when they will be fitted on a Royal Navy Type 23 frigate and a British Army Wolfhound vehicle and tested against drones and other aerial threats.
The investment contracts worth around £72.5 million ($100.2 million) for their development were awarded to a consortia headed by the companies Thales and Raytheon UK.

Thales, in turn, described the lasers as a potential "silver bullet" capable of being used to "deter, degrade, or destroy multiple threat vectors".

Launching the novel weapons programme in 2019, then-UK Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt, touted the laser technologies as something that "have the potential to revolutionise the battlefield by offering powerful and cost-effective weapons systems to our Armed Forces".
"This significant investment demonstrates our commitment to ensuring our Armed Forces operate at the forefront of military technology", she added.
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